Processed foods have become a staple in our diets, but have you ever stopped to think about what exactly is in that pre-packaged meal or snack? Tim Spector (MD FRCP FRSB, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology Kings College London, UK & Scientific Co-Founder at Zoe) has, and in his books, he exposes the truth about highly processed foods and how they impact our health. Let's dive into how Tim Spector identifies a highly processed food, the effects on our bodies, and the tips he gives for smarter shopping.
How to Spot a Highly Processed Food
According to Spector, a highly processed food is one that has undergone multiple alterations to its natural state, often involving the addition of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavours. One simple rule of thumb he gives is to avoid anything with 10 ingredients or more, especially if there are ingredients you've never heard of or can't pronounce. Foods like junk food, frozen dinners, and soft drinks, typically fit this description.
The Consequences of Processed Foods
Tim Spector warns that consuming a diet high in processed foods can have serious consequences for our health. These foods are often high in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar, and lacking in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. This can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Processed foods can also cause inflammation in the body, leading to chronic health problems.
Shopping for a Healthier You
So, how can you make healthier choices when shopping? Spector offers the following tips:
1. Shop the perimeter of the store, where fresh produce, meats, and dairy are typically located.
2. Read the ingredients list on packaging, and avoid foods with a long list of artificial ingredients and chemicals.
3. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
4. Limit your consumption of pre-packaged snacks and meals, and instead prepare your own meals at home using fresh ingredients.
5. Look for products with a clean label, like Pure Booch, that only use recognisable and natural ingredients.
The Exception in an Industry
We are proud that Pure Booch defies the typical processed food norms. Our kombucha is naturally low in sugar and only uses real, cold-pressed juices and fruits to flavour our kombucha. Our ingredients list is short, with 7 ingredients or less, and all ingredients are easily recognisable, ones you can pronounce and quite simply, real.
We're not playing by the industry standard, processed drink rules here. Pure Booch is on a mission to give you the real deal, with zero artificial sweeteners or flavours in sight. And after 9 years of sipping on our kombucha, I'm still just as obsessed as ever!
So to finish off, processed foods may be convenient, but they come at a cost to our health. By following Tim Spector's tips and focusing on whole, unprocessed foods, we can protect ourselves from the dangers of highly processed foods and maintain a healthy diet.
So, the next time you hit the supermarket, use your newfound knowledge to make informed choices, to take control of your health.
And while your at it, why not treat yourself to the best & most authentic kombucha around!
References & Books By Tim Spector
- "The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat" (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2016)
- "Spoon Fed: Why almost everything we know about food is wrong" (Vintage, 2022)
- "Food For Life: The new science of eating well" (Jonathan Cape, 2022)